Who we support

We support high-attaining students from lower income homes across the UK. To apply to our programmes, all students must attend a UK state school or college. Then we look at a range of academic and social mobility criteria focusing on:

      • The student and their family
      • The school that the student attends
      • The area that the student is growing up in
      • The grades that the student has attained

More detail on all of these criteria can be found on each individual programme page.


Our partners Causeway Education have created some resources to help teachers support students who are thinking about university. For access, please email us at [email protected]

Of the students who went on our programmes last year


The proportion that were eligible for free school meals.


The proportion that were among the first in their family to go to university.


The proportion that met 3 or more social mobility criteria.


How do my students apply for a Sutton Trust programme?

For most programmes, young people apply directly through our website. Please visit the page for the programme your student is interested in for further details and timelines for applications. Please note, your student may only take part in one Sutton Trust programme at one time.

Can my students apply to multiple programmes?

Students may only enroll on one programme. However, they may apply to both the US and UK Summer School programmes. The US programme makes their selections during the UK Summer School application period, so any successful students must decide whether to take up their US place at that point.

I teach at an independent school. Can my students apply?

Our programmes are designed to support students in UK state schools. The only exception to this is if a student’s place at an independent school is completely covered by the local authority.

What do I need to do during this process?

Students are expected to fill out their application themselves. Once these have been completed, you will receive an email from us asking you to verify important details from the student. This will include grades, FSM eligibility, care and first-generation status.
If the details are correct, you simply have to confirm this. If the details are not correct, there is space available for you to make corrections. Correcting information in a student’s application will not disadvantage them, as this will be amended on our system before the information is sent to universities.
There’s also an opportunity for you to provide any extenuating circumstances but you do not need to provide a UCAS style character reference for the student. Please complete this form to the best of your knowledge.

What happens if my student’s application isn’t verified by the deadline?

If you are unable to verify the application by the deadline, your student’s chosen university team will contact you directly to verify details.

I’m not the right person to verify a student’s application. What should I do?

Please email us with the name and email address of a more appropriate teacher to contact.

I haven’t received a verification email. What should I do?

Please contact [email protected] and we will rectify this.

Can I see all the students who have applied from my school?

Yes. We will send a summary of all students from your school who have applied following the application deadline. We will send a follow up with student outcomes once we received all decisions from our university partners.

How much does it cost?

All of our programmes are free of charge. This includes travel, accommodation and food. In some cases, students may be asked to pay some travel costs upfront, but these will always be reimbursed. If paying upfront costs is a concern for a student, please contact the university that your student has applied to.

At what age can students apply to the programme?

In most cases, our programmes are targeted at students in Year 12 in England and Wales, S5 in Scotland, and Year 13 in Northern Ireland. There are exceptions, so please do check the individual programme page that your student is interested in.

Can students apply from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

Our UK and US Summer Schools accept students from across the UK and all transport costs will be covered by the Trust. Our Pathways programmes are geographically limited in their recruitment and currently are only running in England.

How likely is my student to be successful?

All of our programmes are very popular, and unfortunately we get many more applications than we have places. For example, there can be up to seven applications for each place on our UK Summer Schools. This means that we often have to reject many highly eligible students. To understand which criteria students are meeting on our programmes, please see above for the demographic makeup of students enrolled last year.

Can you provide feedback on why students have or haven’t been successful?

Applications are assessed on how many of our eligibility criteria students meet. The more of these students meet, the more likely they are to get a place. Since we receive so many applications, we are unable to provide individual feedback.

Can you come into my school and talk about your programmes?

Due to having a small team we are unable to make school visits. However, we have created a number of resources to help you advertise the programme including videos, assembly presentations and posters.

Please click below:

Do any of the programmes take place in term time?

Yes, but we try to minimise the time students may be out of school by holding the majority of activities during holidays and weekends. However, all Sutton Trust activities are focused on work experience or academic enrichment at undergraduate level and students are fully supervised at all times.

How does the Sutton Trust safeguard students whilst they are on programmes?

The Sutton Trust is committed to providing an environment on our programmes which is welcoming and safe, and enables young people to speak up in confidence knowing that their worries, fears or concerns will be heard and acted upon. We work with our partner universities to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risk of harm to a young person’s welfare is minimized. All staff who work on our programmes are DBS/PVG checked. Please click here for our full safeguarding policy and procedure.

Explore other Sutton Trust programmes